Delta-8-THC may soon be removed from dispensary shelves in Missouri, reports the Columbia Missourian. But in a twist that’s confusing dispensary owners, it wouldn’t be banned from less regulated settings.
What’s Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 has a molecular structure akin to delta-9, the most abundant form of naturally-occurring THC. And it has similar psychotropic effects.
Unlike delta-9, however, delta-8 is typically sourced from hemp and isn't prohibited at the federal level. State regulations range from no restrictions to complete bans.
A ‘Legal Workaround’ In Missouri
Missouri, which has a medical marijuana program, has not banned or regulated the isomer. As in other states that haven’t set regulations on the substance, delta-8 gummies, tinctures and vape cartridges are sold at convenience stores, tobacco and hemp shops, often without age restrictions.
“This is a legal workaround for a variety of businesses, from medical dispensaries to gas stations,” writes Josie Wilkerson for the Missourian. “The ease of finding these products has led to an increase in demand as more young adults can purchase delta-8 products without medical cards.”
Andrew Nussbaum, manager of Green Releaf Marijuana Dispensary in downtown Columbia, told the Missourian they offer delta-8. But that might be changing soon.
“We do have people who come into the dispensary who do not have a medical card, and we can sell delta-8 to them,” Nussbaum said. “It’s pretty prevalent. […] Delta-8 can still help with anxiety, nausea, depression and pain and is a little less psychotropic than delta-9.”
A student at the University of Missouri confirmed with Wilkerson that they used delta-8 THC to relieve anxiety and depression.
“I have pretty positive feelings from it and it helps with anxiety and depression,” the student said, “and so [young adults] can keep doing their work and go places since it is not as strong as [delta-9].”
Health Department Rule Would Primarily Impact Dispensaries
A rule change proposed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in November would require medical dispensaries to stop selling delta-8. As reported in Greenway Magazine, DHSS released draft amendments prohibiting dispensaries from selling products containing cannabinoids created through chemical conversion. This includes delta-8, which requires a lab process to convert CBD derived from hemp into THC.
“I would think that non-dispensaries could have harmful chemicals in their products. Here, we sell products with codes that have certificates of analysis that the product is safe.”
— Andrew Nussbaum, manager of Green Releaf Marijuana Dispensary
“While this doesn’t directly impact the legality of Delta-8 or Delta-10 products in Missouri as a whole,” Brandon Dunn wrote for Greenway Magazine, “it will change the product offerings for some Missouri dispensaries that have been carrying those products.”
After the DHSS released the proposed rule, the Missouri Hemp Trade Association wrote an open letter suggesting that only delta-8 created from non-cannabis sources be declared off-limits to dispensaries.
But for now, delta-8 remains on dispensary shelves — at least at Green Releaf.
“When [delta-8] is in a place that’s more regulated and controlled, then we can have a better approach to selling these products,” Nussbaum told the Missourian. “I would think that non-dispensaries could have harmful chemicals in their products. Here, we sell products with codes that have certificates of analysis that the product is safe.”